This winter has been brutal.  Across the country extremely cold temperatures, mounting snow totals, and record breaking wind chills have everyone talking about the weather.  From back breaking shoveling to week-long power outages or yet another school closing, this winter has affected us all.  In parts of New England, there have been reports of barn roofs collapsing from the weight of heavy snow while compounding snow storms in the midwest have residents pinning for spring.

Roof collapses tend to be more widespread among older buildings when continuous snow fall hits a region.  Fresh snow, even in large amounts, is pretty fluffy and lightweight.  But when it sticks around for a while without a healthy thaw, the process melting and refreezing can create layers of ice and heavier snow.  Though it may not be several inches thick, the condensed water weight can really burden older homes in particular.

Some signs to look out for:
  • A roof that is already sagging
  • Obvious structural damage
  • Bowing pipes along the ceiling
  • Cracks in the walls
  • Doors that pop open on their own
  • Doors or/and windows that are difficult to open
  • Loud popping, creaking, or cracking sounds

One way to help eliminate the weight of snow on your roof is by using a roof rake.  This winter in particular, many hardware stores have been selling out of roof rakes a long with snow shovels and salt.  So what is a roof rake exactly?  It’s telescoping pole with a small blade-like shovel on the end designed for snow removal.  The shovel has rollers on it so the rake won’t scrape and damage the shingles on your roof deck.  The goal is not to entirely strip your roof of snow, a small layer left behind is fine, but eliminating the bulk of snow weight on your roof will help to properly maintain your home.